Legal and Ethical Questions Answered: When Lawyers File for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Lawyers, just like any career that requires years and years of education and training to complete, have monumental school debts. Even after they have worked for a couple of years, there is always more debt piled on top of the school loans--mortgage, car loans, etc. Therefore, it is understandable if lawyers file for bankruptcy, but the question is, can they? What are the legal and ethical issues surrounding a lawyer and his or her bankruptcy? If you want to know how a lawyer can file and whether or not it is right for him or her to do so, the answers are below.
No Ethical Concerns
Actually, a bankruptcy attorney filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is no different than a doctor asking another doctor to perform surgery on him/her. It may seem odd to you because of the type of work they do, but they have their problems just like everyone else. There are no ethical concerns with a lawyer filing for bankruptcy, and there are no punishments or special treatment in court either. A bankruptcty attorney filing for bankruptcy is not as unusual as it seems.
No Legal Concerns Either
By law, every adult has the right to file for bankruptcy, if and when he or she feels that his or her debts are insurmountable. That includes lawyers in general and bankruptcy lawyers too. The only difference is that lawyers, with their salaries being what they are, will have to prove that their incomes are not enough to cover the total sum of their debts, nor are they able to come to any agreement with their creditors about how to pay their bills. For this reason, and because it is their personal bankruptcies, they cannot represent themselves in court and require another lawyer's help.
Other Concerns You May Have and What You Can Do
If you think that something else that is not quite legal is going on with a lawyer friend, and that lawyer friend is filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, (which eliminates all debt and releases the debtor from financial responsibility) then you can report him or her. Your state has its own legal bar association, and all suspected mischief or misconduct on the part of lawyer may be reported to the association. Other than that, there is nothing wrong or out of the ordinary with a bankruptcy attorney filing his or her own bankrutpcty case.